Originally Published: September 6, 2016 2 a.m.
In Loving Memory. Always. Colonel John A. Mortimer, 1919-2016
Our “Laddie” only 96. Young at heart, he’d reminisce about his whippersnapper days: How World War II ended in a smashing Victory Day celebration. Swinging along until the crack of dawn with the “boogie-woogie babies.” What a lark when he taught me (his wife, Liza) how to jitterbug the G.I. way.
A far cry from combat duty. He served in the US Army, European Theatre Operation under Gen. George Patton, fighting in the bloody Battle of the Bulge. Then he was called up again for the Korean War. But the Army reassigned him to observe Ground Zero testing of the atomic bomb.
Awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and three Battle Stars. A graduate of the Command and General Staff College. And a lifetime member of the Reserve Officers Association.
Past Commander of the American Legion. Past President of Rotary International. Honorary lifetime member of the Elks, DAV and VFW.
Although he retired from the military, he never retired from serving our community. For decades, he volunteered at the VA hospital. What a wonderful surprise when the VA honored him with the 2014 award for “Volunteer of the Year.” And every year on behalf of the American Legion, he collected poppy donations for our needy veterans. Served on the Honor and Color Guard. Presented the American flag at military funerals to the families of our fallen heroes.
Meanwhile, back in civvies, former Mayor Sam Steiger presented him with a “Good Samaritan” award. Pressing on regardless, at Whiskey Row, they joked about painting another crosswalk for pub crawling.
At parties, he delighted playing Father Christmas with Marsha and at the American Legion giving gifts galore to all the wee nippers.
For all their tender loving care, special hugs to the VA staff. And to kind-hearted friends who gave me a lift to the VA hospital every day to visit my Laddie.
Full military honors will be presented by the American Legion, Post 6, Honor Guard. A celebration of his life will be held at the VA Chapel, Prescott, Arizona, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at 11 a.m.
Inurnment at Prescott National Cemetery.
Please, in lieu of flowers, he wished donations be sent in his memory to: American Legion Honor Guard, Post 6, Attn: Captain Dan Tillmans, 202 S. Pleasant St., Prescott, AZ 86303.
Laddie did not wish to be remembered with tears and sorrow. He wished to be remembered with smiles and laughter. Because that’s the way he was … a jolly good sport and ever-ready to lend a helping hand.
Dedicated to serving our community. He was not only ours, he was everybody’s hometown “Laddie.”
Information provided by survivors.